At a time when it’s possible to find cadres of improvisers almost everywhere, it comes as something of a surprise to learn that there are enough improvising musicians in Rimouski, Quebec to form an eleven-member ensemble, and more of a surprise still when one hears the group’s distinctive sonic makeup. If most large improvising ensembles bear some instrumental resemblance to jazz big bands, with phalanxes of trumpets, saxophones, and drums, GGRIL counters with two violins, two electric guitars, tuba, and reeds in less likely places: two clarinets and both chromatic and diatonic accordions. It’s a band that might suggest a traditional town dance in the age of encroaching electricity. Two special guests, saxophonist Evan Parker and trombonist Scott Thomson provide the horn emphasis here.

The music is never without a distinct character, with conducted improvisation highlighting the special timbral resources. The long Bouturage, directed by Parker, develops unique textures made available by the accordions, violins, and tuba, sometimes incorporating lock-step rhythmic figures. Marcottage, conducted by violinist Raphael Arsenault, sets Parker’s tenor saxophone against shifting fields of droning electric guitars, looming low brass and eerie voices, sudden explosions of percussion, and unpredictable squiggles of accordion. The result is consistently engaging music that’s as surprising as it is thoughtfully determined.